Arrived in Barbados after a 9 hour flight without inflight entertainment(TOM194)out of Manchester.Everyone on the flight had blankets around them it was that cold.From airport to ship was excellent no waiting about.We checked into the boarding sheds very quickly and then we were held up by the bain of the whole cruise yes a PHOTOGRAPHER. Reached cabin D729 VERY NICE INDEED,there was champagne, chocolates and fruit waiting great start on board.
The Ventura is a beautiful ship even though we hadn't cruised before to compare it with.The main entertainment centre was the Arena theatre which holds approx 900 and is very comfortable.Las Ramblas is a very comfortable meeting place for a drink it could be a room in any top class hotel.
The Tamarind bar is a beautiful room but unfortunately is the centre for the Ballroom dancers and therefore is only fully utilized if there is entertainment on following the dancing.Nightclub Havanna is at the stern of the ship and is a very poorly shaped room so much so that there is numerous TV screens around the room in order to see the entertainment. This is also where LIBBY and her cronies entertain themselves dancing the night away when supposedly working.
We were booked first sitting 6.30pm in the BAY TREE restaurant, all the food we had was of a very good standard the only drawback was that the food was not very warm when it reached our table which was the furthest from the galley.We also dined in the WHITE ROOM on two ocassions which for the extra £20pp was well worth the experience.During the day we used the Waterside restaurant the self service food was edible but on board it was known as the CANTEEN.Not only are the plates red hot but also the trays are the hottest anywhere.
After our day in Barbados we set sail for BONAIRE 36 hours away.This is when we found out about the squealing screaming kids on board who are allowed by their parents and staff alike to do as they please and ruin everyone elses relaxation.
If you require a nice relaxing holiday after 12 months hard graft DO NOT GO ON THE VENTURA.Not only are there young children, roaming the ship at will are teenagers who sit on stairs or anywhere they want to which is not very nice on a beautiful cruise ship.
On the Islands visited I can honestly say that there is not a lot to choose between any of them they all have the same shops/sheds selling alot of junk, they all have taxi drivers trying to rip you off with island tours if you haven't been ripped off by P&O who are even dearer.The only Islands I would reccommend is ST MAARTEN and maybe GRAND TURK the latter is only 1x7 miles.
On the cruise there are 4 formal nights which if your are a normal guy like me will have you heaving as the dolled up snobs who stroll round licking a--e as if they are really someone.On the first formal evening the Captain greeted his subjects like the pope by standing on a balcony in the Atrium, pass me a bucket.This is where the most annoying thing apart from the screaming kids on Ventura starts in earnest and never stops until you leave the ship THE PHOTOGRAPHERS believe me they never leave you alone whether you are walking eating drinking they are there it is pathetic, i now know why famous people hate the paparazzi they are in your face all the time.
Entertainment is worse than any working mens club that i have visited.To save time i will just give examples from both ends of the spectrum, the best which both came on the last two days were Martin Daniels a comedian/magician and a Neil Diamond tribute act who was very good.At the other end for adult entertainment in the night club we had Mr Biscuit who made dogs from balloons and a so called comedian by the name of ANDY FORD who emptied the room in 15minutes flat they were an absolute disgrace.
So there you have it folks don't be fooled by all the hype about cruise ships,if you want to spend a fortune on what is basically a captive holiday go, if not steer clear because for what you will pay out you could do at least 3 holidays a year al a carte virtually anywhere.Finally do not be fooled by the on board spend offered it does not last 5 minutes and we did not purchase any photographs at £15 a time.If you have booked this ship just pray that all the kids are at school if not take some big earplugs.